Are we seeing a bit of sunlight into the corriculum?
It’s a staple of pulp fiction and film noir: the sweating suspect, the good-cop bad-cop interrogators, and a confession extracted by crafty questioning, a glaring light, and some strategic smacks.
These aggressive questioning techniques – now frowned on by the courts – sometimes resulted in suspects confessing to crimes they did not commit. The stranger reality, say criminologists, is that physical coercion is not needed to obtain a false confession.
“It’s incredibly counterintuitive how common false confessions are. It boggles my mind,” said Peter Neufeld of the Innocence Project at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City.
Of 300 people freed through DNA evidence uncovered by the Innocence Project, Neufeld said, 25 percent had been convicted in part by their own false confessions.
“Twenty-five percent false confessions is a much higher number than I or anyone
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